The story is stagey, affected and tries too hard to be unusual and cute
Reader Arielle Sitrick mispronounces common words (bromeliad, detritus and dozens of others) and doesn't seem to know what idea in a sentence should be emphasized. It would be good for her to read the book through to herself a couple of times, and look up the pronunciation of unfamiliar words.
I was disappointed in the book, having read some positive reviews that made it sound original and quirky. Instead it struck me as self-conscious, odd, and unappealing. The writer seemed so eager to create
The story is quirky and engaging.
The performance could have been better with any other narrator. While I understand the logic of having a young girl read this, there must have been someone who was literate available. Did any editor or the author listen to this before it was published? The author's well crafted book is butchered. And I learn that the reader (take that loosely) is not 12 or 13 or even 10, as it sounds, but 16 -- so perhaps 15 when the work was done. This is an indictment of whatever schools she attended.
This is an engaging story but one of the readers was not up to audible.com standards and made it more difficult to connect to the characters.
Having read reviews of the printed book, I may try another one by this author. The voice and delivery by Arielle Stricker is such that I cannot finish the book. The reading is soft, unsteady, childlike and lacks expression. This makes it almost impossible to follow.
I did not listen to the end
It is inarticulate
I have no opinion here
I wish I had read the other reviews before purchasing. I would like a refund.
I found the story to be incredibly engaging...seeing the world from an isolated, innocent little girl's perspective kept me in suspense the entire time. Is this a work of magical realism, with real ghosts and real witches, or, is our narrator creating her own magic and believing adult lies? Beautifully written, with a female narrator who captured the innocence of the character perfectly. Listen to Swamplandia! for a beautiful, engaging, suspenseful version of a coming of age tale and the story of a family making their way in the world.
I try to stick with a book that I purchase, but this one was hard. It wasn't well written, and I'm hard put to know if there was a point to it. David Ackroyd is quite a good narrator, but Arielle Sitrick was dreadful. She dropped her voice at commas, then proceeded on with the remainder of the sentence. It may have been the primary reason that I couldn't enjoy anything about this book.
The problem with "quirky" novels is that you either get into the world the author has created, or you don't. I enjoyed this book and even admired it at times, but I did not fully engage with the characters or the semi-supernatural world they inhabited.
This is a book I wish I'd read instead of listened to...the childlike voice of Ava either enunciated badly or mispronounced words, and the 3rd person narrator for Kiwi's chapters seemed totally miscast.
Since this story took place in a theme park, I mistakenly thought it would be upbeat. Instead it was dark and depressing. I had no idea there would be such a heavy focus on the supernatural, which was also not what I expected. It was exceedingly depressing and I even considered fast forwarding some sad and slow sections (which I NEVER do).
On the plus side, the quality of writing is very good, so if you are someone who can put up with books that make you feel horrible, go right ahead.
Karen Russell has a remarkable talent for creating stunning images with perfect and fresh similes and metaphors. She creates a world that is part the real world of the Florida swamp, so vivid you want to swat the mosquitoes and dodge the alligators, and part the world of ghosts and the human underworld. But even better, she creates the world of children struggling desperately to survive a terrible loss and another terrible threat and surviving through love for one another and their parents. And she has created a wonderful character, Ava, a child whose voyage down the river Styx and back to humanity brings us into this fascinating world. Congratulations too to Arielle Sitrick who perfectly captures Ava in her reading.